The TN card is the local loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting our independents. This month, its founder Jess Gibson chats to Amy Lethbridge and Phil Reid of The Cove at 94 High Street about how they’re combining beautiful floristry, artisan products and experiential workshops to create an award-winning brand…
Amy and Phil, firstly congratulations on winning Kent’s Best Florist in the 2023 Muddy Stilettos Awards!
Thank you Jess! Winning Muddy Stilettos Best Florist in Kent 2023 in June this year really celebrated what we have achieved since opening in 2020. To know that we were voted for by customers and clients that have been inspired by what we’re trying to do means so much. The certificate has pride of place in one of our displays!
How did you meet and what led to you partnering to create The Cove? What is the story behind your name?
We’re both neighbours and friends, sharing a love for creating things. Phil runs a brand agency and just before Covid had begun investing in his own ideas. Meanwhile, I was helping grow a florist and garden centre in Sussex after qualifying from Plumpton College. I’d always wanted to start my own business, and in lockdown we both had an idea… that there was an opportunity to provide a different high street experience that combined flowers, with independently made products and learning experiences. Through a combination of both our skills, we set about finding a bricks-and-mortar space that could adapt to what we wanted to do and managed to find that in Tunbridge Wells.
Why did you decide to call it The Cove?
The whole concept of The Cove, and the story behind the name, was creating a small, secluded space where anyone can discover something new. We wanted to build an experience that wasn’t simply a retail shop, but where truly bespoke flower creations could be made in front of you, artisan products tasted and enjoyed from local makers and creators, plus all that learning pulled together to create workshops, evenings and fun experiences that groups can enjoy.
Amy, how would you describe your style of floristry and what services do you offer?
Personally, I love to create a more natural, loose country garden-style arrangement. At The Cove, crafting incredible flowers really is at the heart of what we do. We pride ourselves on being able to take on board any request or brief, working to different tastes and styles in a thoughtful manner. Our style is not possible within mass-market sales such as supermarkets or more regimented flower marketplaces, so it helps us stand out. Our floristry service scales from individual bouquets made while you wait, to weekly subscriptions for homes and businesses, right the way through to commercial and residential installations, private commissions, wedding celebrations and sympathy ceremonies. We’re proud to supply thriving local businesses and when it comes to our workshops, these have grown and grown. You can attend them at The Cove, but we are increasingly partnering with brands such as Fenwick and Anthropologie to provide flower-making (and product-tasting) experiences. We aim to source as local as possible and we use bio/eco wrapping, ensuring that no plastic is used.
Which Kent and Sussex businesses do you partner with?
As a growing business we are keen to partner and support a wide range of companies, from aspiring independents to larger global brands. We’re proud to have partnered with the likes of Anthropologie, Sweaty Betty, The Body Shop and Fenwick, collaborating together for learning workshops. When it comes to events and weddings, we work with many of this area’s leading venues including Hotel Du Vin, Trading Boundaries, Kingdom and Salomons Estate. Recently, we have started growing our ‘Cove Club’ subscriptions as well, supplying local businesses such as Sankey’s with regular weekly flowers. Being able to collaborate with other brands really is part of what we are trying to achieve.
You are becoming well known for your wonderful workshops, tell us more…
For us, it’s all about creating. We are lucky to have a beautiful space at The Cove that works perfectly for entertaining and educating around 20 people. Everyone in our team enjoys this and are experienced enough to both share our knowledge and insight. We offer a mixture of floral and tasting workshops – these aim to share our unique insight into flower and plant arranging alongside information from across our curated product range of gins, rums, vodkas, whiskeys, and wine. We would ideally like to balance these workshops with using our space for free as a community learning experience – so anyone can host at The Cove to teach something craft-related.
And finally, thank you for joining the TN card! How do you thank our members for supporting local?
The whole concept of the TN card is amazing. Providing an incentive to shop local, supporting the High Street and in turn supporting businesses in Tunbridge Wells (and beyond)… it’s such a great idea. We provide all TN members with a 10% discount on our spirits and plan to host free events for TN members, such as workshops and product tastings. These will be partnered with local brands, so hopefully provide a platform for all to connect.